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Five Pitfalls to avoid when choosing a medical Translator  

 

As medical translations consistently have to be very accurate and are also often of a sensitive, confidential nature, it is important to avoid certain pitfalls when selecting a suitable translator for the task at hand. 

 

1) Qualifications 

One of the mistakes many companies make is not to check the educational and/ or professional credentials of a potential translator.  

 

A company offering medical translation services must be able to show that their translators are not only competent in both the source and the target languages, they also must have the medical knowledge required to correctly translate such documents. 

 

It is therefore essential to look for certifications showing that the company's translators have undergone the highly specialized training necessary to deliver high quality work. 

 

2) Certifications 

Translation agencies are governed by quality and accountability assuring industry standards. To avoid costly mistakes, it is essential to look for agencies holding ISO 9001:2008 certification. This certification guarantees that a company will follow and uphold the strictest project management systems. 

 

To really make sure a company is fully equipped to deal with medical and/ or pharmaceutical translations, it is also necessary to look for companies certified for the DIN EN 15038 standard, currently the world's only certification specific to the translation industry. 

 

3) Tools 

To avoid errors or long delays in the work being returned, it is vital to look for companies using only the best translation tools available. This includes so-called translation memory software. Translation memory software is essentially a database containing terms that have been previously translated, which not only ensures consistency in style, but also saves time when specific terms need to be translated.  

 

4) Related Services 

If there is a possible that other, related documents may have to be translated, it is best to look for a company that is capable of dealing with those translations as well. 

 

Although it is obviously possible to get a different company to do such translations, a more consistent style overall can be achieved. In addition, selecting a second company may result in getting work that is of a lower standard than that of the originally used company. 

 

Choosing one company to do multiple translations will save time and money, as well as ensuring consistent quality. 

 

5) Confidentiality 

As mentioned, medical texts often carry sensitive and frequently even confidential patient information. Such information should obviously not be made available to the public.  

 

It is therefore vitally important that the selected company has a very clear confidentiality policy and is prepared to enter into non-disclosure agreements that are legally binding if so desired by clients. 

 

The Internet is full of companies offering translation services. Not all of them will be as qualified to deal with medical translations as they claim to be. Bearing this in mind and following the above steps when selecting a suitable translation company will help to avoid hiring the wrong, incapable companies and ending up having to deal with the often serious and potentially fatal consequences of poor translations. 

 

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